About Ebony Utley

Ebony Utley Biography

Ebony A. Utley PhD is an expert in popular culture race and romantic relationships. Her critically acclaimed book Rap and Religion: Understanding the Gangsta’s God addresses all of the above by closely examining the juxtaposition—and seeming hypocrisy—of references to God within rap music. Utley asserts that religion has always been part of the urban environments that birthed rap music and she shows exactly how a God-sanctioned “gangsta” identity can be empowering.
In addition to identifying the many similarities between rap and religion Utley also uncovers love’s presence in some of hip-hop’s most unlikely places. Her co-edited volume Hip Hop’s Languages of Love was the first scholarly examination of hip-hop and love celebrated for its historical conceptual geographical and methodological diversity. In her most recent research Utley asks probing questions about women’s experiences with infidelity and investigates African American beliefs about marriage.
Utley shares her exciting work with interested audiences at universities across the country. The Utley Experience is a multimedia interactive presentation that challenges audiences to examine old texts in new ways. Utley’s critical analyses of popular culture’s complex combinations of power and pleasure—which have earned her the title of “the woman with ideas”—are educational as well as entertaining and rooted in her increasingly comprehensive research agenda.

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